County approves purchase of Santa Margarita Preserve land


Last updated 8/10/2007 at Noon

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of a 47.2-acre parcel for addition to the Santa Margarita Preserve.

A 5-0 vote of the supervisors July 25 authorized the purchase of the property from The Trust for Public Land for $390,000. The land acquisition will expand the Santa Margarita Preserve while also providing a buffer between Camp Pendleton and civilian property.

The parcel south of De Luz Road and west of Sandia Creek Drive is currently owned by the Twaddle Family Trust, but The Trust for Public Land secured an option to purchase that property. The parcel was appraised at $780,000, and the Department of the Navy will pay The Trust for Public Land $390,000 for the purchase of a restrictive easement. The appraised value of the land with the restrictive easement is $390,000, which became the county’s cost to purchase the land with that encumbrance.

The county’s initial acquisition of open space preserve land in the Santa Margarita River Basin consisted of 173 acres obtained in 1992. The county has subsequently applied for and received grants to fund construction of a new trailhead, rehabilitation of existing trails, and construction of new trails for public use. The preserve is expected to be opened to the public in spring 2008.

The Trust for Public Land entered into an option agreement with the Twaddle Family Trust to purchase the 47.2-acre property in April 2006, and in September 2006 The Trust for Public Land entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of the Navy to partner in the acquisition of privately-owned property surrounding the base.

The county used general fund revenue budgeted for Multiple Species Conservation Program and open space acquisitions to pay for its acquisition of the property.

The Department of the Navy seeks a buffer around the base which would restrict development and use of the lands adjacent to the base. The Department of Parks and Recreation has reviewed the restrictive easement and determined that it will not prohibit open space or non-motorized trails on the property. The county’s Department of Environmental Health reviewed the property for hazardous materials and determined that no further environmental investigation would be needed, and the county’s Department of Planning and Land Use has determined that the inclusion of the property in the Santa Margarita Open Space Preserve is consistent with the county’s General Plan and with the Fallbrook Community Plan.

The county’s total cost for the acquisition will be $408,160 which includes $2,160 for title insurance and escrow costs, $7,500 of staff time to process the purchase, and $8,500 for fencing, gates, and signage. Operations and maintenance costs for the preserve, including the acquired parcel, are estimated at $40,000 annually.


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